It is not difficult for Christians to admit that deception is morally wrong, and that because he is a God of truth, “lying lips are an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 12:22). But unfortunately we are not always quick to recognize all the subtle forms lying takes in our everyday conversations. Consider the way we can toss around insincere compliments and words of praise, which, if pressed, we’d have to admit are “not entirely true,” simply to make ourselves appear pleasant, kind, gracious, or godly. The dictionary calls this kind of lying “flattery”, and God’s word explicitly equates those who “flatter with their tongue” with people who “speak lies” (Psalm 5:6, 9).
Or consider the way we can embellish a story, pushing it just beyond the reality of what actually happened, to make our knowledge or experience seem more interesting, more exciting, or more commendable to others. This form of deception the Bible roundly condemns under the heading of “boasting.” Lastly, consider the way the facts get twisted when we craftily choose to augment and enhance “the evil” in a story to help cast our opponents in the worst possible light. The Bible calls this “slander,” and aptly groups this transgression with others that flow from “lying lips” (Proverbs 10:18).
So let’s remove the artificial shades of abhorrence from our tailored definitions of deception and prayerfully seek to avoid every form that lying takes, always mindful of the high value God places on “truthful lips” (Proverbs 12:19).